Maple syrup is a common ingredient in many cuisines and dishes – from pancakes to roasted squash; its distinct flavors can add a whole new layer of sweetness to your favorite recipes.
While maple syrup is delicious all on its own, there are a few situations where it might be better to substitute for another ingredient – knowing these differences can make all the difference.
If you’ve ever been disappointed with your pancakes after making the switch from maple syrup to a sugar substitute, you’re not alone.
The flavors of maple syrup and pure cane sugar are very different, and it can take some time to adjust to the new taste.
However, there are several other reasons why you might want to substitute maple syrup for another ingredient.
Keep on reading to learn about these differences.
What is Maple Syrup?
Maple syrup is a sweet, sticky, brown liquid derived from maple trees.
Maple syrup is produced in maple sap when boiled down to concentrate the sugars within the sap.
This is distinct from maple sugar, which is created when the boiling process has been stopped before all of the water has evaporated, or maple butter, which uses whole tree pieces rather than just sap.
Maple syrup was first produced by indigenous North Americans who would insert a small spigot into a maple tree to collect the sap.
They would then boil the collected sap down into a syrup, which can be used as an ingredient in food or as a sweetener.
There are many applications for maple syrup, including its traditional use as a sweetener in food.
Maple syrup is also used in cocktails or other alcoholic drinks, baked foods, and desserts.
Maple syrup can even provide the subtle sweetness that enhances flavors of other ingredients without adding extra calories to the dish.
The 5 Best Substitutes for Maple Syrup
Although maple syrup is a delicious ingredient that benefits dishes, it can be expensive.
It’s also not always the best option for a certain food or dietary restrictions.
Luckily, there are five great substitutes for maple syrup available in your local grocery store.
1 – Honey
Honey is a versatile ingredient with a subtle sweetness and unmistakable flavor.
A natural sweetener, honey varies in color and taste depending on the plants derived from it.
Honey has been used as both food and medicine for centuries.
The simplest substitute for maple syrup is regular honey instead of pure maple syrup.
This doesn’t change the dish’s flavor, but it adds a boost of sweetness.
The best kinds of honey to use are clover or orange blossom.
When using honey, it’s important to consider the strong flavors that come with it.
Honey is very powerful and can easily overwhelm other ingredients in a dish.
When substituting two parts maple syrup, a good rule of thumb equals one part, honey.
2 – Brown Sugar Syrup
Brown sugar syrup is another great substitute for maple syrup.
This sweet, sticky syrup is made from brown sugar and water.
Due to the added water, this makes it much sweeter than pure maple syrup.
Brown sugar syrup typically goes by ‘golden syrup’ in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Despite its name, golden syrup is not syrup.
It’s a combination of molasses or treacle and sugar.
Unlike pure maple syrup, brown sugar syrup is much more affordable and accessible to many grocery stores worldwide.
It’s also delicious and easy to use.
3 – Corn Syrup
Corn syrup is a common ingredient in many foods, especially those from the United States.
It’s been used as a sweetener for years due to its affordability and universal availability.
There are two kinds of corn syrup: light and dark.
However, both of these types work as substitutes for maple syrup.
Both contain high amounts of glucose, a crucial ingredient for any dish.
In the United States, corn syrup is typically made from genetically modified corn.
As such, please make sure to check your ingredients before buying this substitute.
Corn syrup has an exceptionally sweet flavor that can be overpowering if used incorrectly.
It’s best used as a substitute at a one-to-one ratio.
4 – Molasses
Molasses is a byproduct of the process of refining sugarcane into sugar crystals.
Once crystallized, it’s filtered and boiled down to create molasses.
It has a distinct flavor that is both sweet and bitter.
The taste can vary depending on the type of sugars used in the refinement process.
Like corn syrup, molasses has a strong flavor that can overwhelm the taste of other ingredients in a dish.
It’s also not ideal for baking or cooking at high temperatures due to its lower sugar content than maple syrup.
Nevertheless, it is an inexpensive and accessible substitute used in many dishes.
5 – Buttermilk Syrup
Buttermilk syrup is a recent substitute used to imitate the flavor and consistency of maple syrup.
Unlike other substitutes, this one is non-perishable and can be kept in your cupboard.
It’s also very sweet with a subtle, tangy taste that works well as a topping for pancakes or ice cream.
However, it’s not ideal for baking.
Buttermilk syrup is a great substitute to use when you’ve run out of maple syrup and need a quick fix.
Traditional buttermilk or organic buttermilk from grass-fed cows are the best kinds to use.
Both have the same flavor, although the organic buttermilk will be slightly thicker.
This syrup is great for sweet dishes like waffles or French toast.
Maple syrup is a delicious and healthy sweetener often used in cooking.
Fortunately, many great substitutes for maple syrup are available in every grocery store.
Whether you’re looking to save money or don’t have any left, these five alternatives will do the trick.
Each of these substitutes has its unique tastes and textures, but they work well in many dishes.
Honey is the sweetest of them all, so use it with caution to prevent overpowering your dish.
Thanks for reading. Happy cooking :).